St Bede's College Shimla


St. Bede was probably born in 673 A.D. At the age of seven, his parents placed him under the care of Abbot Benedict for his education and upbringing. But when the monastery of St. Paul was established in the year 682, St. Bede seems to have been transferred to the care of its first Abbot, Ceolfrid, and to have remained a monk there for the remainder of his life.

St. Bede was made deacon at the age of nineteen by Bishop John of Hexham. Since canon law laid down the age of twenty-five as the norm for admission to the diaconate, Bede's scholarship and devotion must have been recognized as exceptional for him to have been presented by Abbot Ceolfrid six years early. He was advanced to the Priesthood by Bishop John eleven years later. From the time of his receiving the priesthood until his fifty-ninth year, he worked to compile extracts from the works of the venerable Fathers on holy scripture, and to make commentaries on their meaning and interpretation. During all this, St. Bede was gathering materials for his "History" which he completed in 731.

St. Bede's "History" belongs to his latter years, due to which he has richly earned the title 'Father of English History'. For St. Bede was not content to compile a bare chronicle of events and dates, or to restrict himself to hagiography as his predecessors had done. He set himself to examine all available records, to secure verbal or written accounts from reliable living authorities, to record local traditions and stories, to interpret significant events, and in short, to compile as complete and continuous a history of the English Church and people as lay within his power. He was the first to conceive or attempt such a formidable project and posterity acknowledges his pioneering work as a remarkably successful achievement. St. Bede's industry and scholarship are generally acknowledged, but his most significant achievement lies in his inspired ability to select and integrate the vast mass of facts and traditions that he had gathered, into a single framework. When we consider St. Bede's limited facilities and resources, it is clear that his achievements are unique.

St. Bede passed away on the evening of May 25, 735 A.D. The principal and lasting memorial of the first of the English historians is the inspiration of his holy life and the value of the great work that he bequeathed to posterity.

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